Penn to now face Diaz at UFC 137

nullNow that the dust has settled in on the change to the UFC 137 main event, with Carlos Condit replacing Nick Diaz to face Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight championship, the next biggest question was who was B.J. Penn facing that night?

Penn was originally scheduled to face Condit in the co-main event, but UFC President Dana White said he was working on something crazy for Penn, and he hoped that it still take place at UFC 137.

Well, the UFC decided if it could move one fighter, why not just move the other.

Dana White released on his Twitter that Penn will now fight Nick Diaz in the co-main event.

This is crazy but here we go again! Penn vs Diaz 10/29 in Vegas

This should be a tremendous bout as both men have a warrior mentality and they will certainly leave everything in the octagon.

Diaz still gets his shot at a high-profile bout while Penn gets a chance to land a marquee win in the welterweight division.

I think from a matchup standpoint, the changes to both fights make each one more interesting.

  

Diego Sanchez out of UFC 135 with broken hand, Koscheck says he is in

nullWell a summer of injuries that plagued the UFC is starting to force its way into a stacked fall lineup.

According to UFC President Dana White’s Twitter account, Diego Sanchez is out of his co-main event bout with Matt Hughes at UFC 135 due to a broken hand.

White indicated that the UFC is searching for a replacement for Hughes, but just moments later, Josh Koscheck posted this on his Twitter account:

Oh ya 19 days then or something like that!!!! Either way it looks like I am in to fight matt Hugh if he takes it????

The blow is tough for Sanchez, who had won his last two bouts to improve to 23-4 in his career. A fight with Hughes gave Sanchez a chance to pick up a win over a Hall of Fame fighter and really put a stamp on his career. Sanchez was coming into the fight as the favorite to win.

Hughes (45-8) hasn’t fought since last November when he was KO’d by BJ Penn in 21 seconds. There don’t seem to be a lot of options left for Hughes in the octagon, but a fight with Koscheck wouldn’t seem too favorable for him.

Koscheck hasn’t competed since UFC 124 last December when he lost to Georges St. Pierre and suffered a broken orbital bone. Koscheck indicated he would be returning to action in November as a middleweight. Apparently plans have changed. Koscheck has the skill set to beat Hughes as his wrestling is on par with Hughes and his striking is far superior.

UFC 135 takes place Saturday, Sept. 24 from Denver.

  

Shields to fight Sept. 17 despite loss of father

nullI am not the biggest Jake Shields fan in the world.

But, I have to give the guy a lot of credit.

Shields will stick with his upcoming bout against Jake Ellenberger on Sept. 17 despite losing his father, Jack, at the age of 67 on Tuesday.

MMAFighting.com first reported that Shields would be fighting in a few weeks.

Jake Shields has decided to go through with his Sept. 17 fight against Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night 25 following the recent death of his father and manager, Jack Shields. MMA Fighting confirmed the fighter’s decision with UFC officials.

GracieFighter.com broke the news of Jack Shields’ passing on Tuesday. He was 67 years old.

No word just yet on the cause of death. According to Sherdog.com, Shields died in his sleep on Monday at his Sacramento, Calif., home.

“Lost my father manager and one of my best friends today!! R.I.P jack you will be greatly missed and loved by many,” Shields was quoted as saying on the Web site.

I am fortunate to still have my father alive and well, but just the sheer thought of him passing away is enough for me to not want to do anything the rest of the day.

I am sure this is a tough time for Jake and I wish him my best as he goes through this period. I also give him a lot of respect for taking the fight with Ellenberger. It is a dangerous fight for him but I am sure he will have a lot of support going into the contest.

  

Top 10 Welterweight Rankings

nullThis week’s rankings turn to the welterweight division.

It has been a busy couple of months in this division as two of the top 10 suffered losses since my last 170-pound rankings came out.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 in this division.

1. Georges St. Pierre (22-2) – St. Pierre successfully defeated Jake Shields, but did so by decision. His performance wasn’t great, but it was still enough to end a lengthy win streak by Shields. Instead of moving up to middleweight, St. Pierre will now take on Nick Diaz at UFC 137 in October.

2. Jon Fitch (23-3-1) – Fitch is coming off shoulder surgery and is targeting a return in late 2011. He was originally pushing for a title fight, but is now looking toward a rematch with B.J. Penn. With the UFC implementing five-round main events for non-title fights, Fitch would seem to have the edge there as he got stronger as the first fight with Penn went on.

3. Josh Koscheck (15-5) – Koscheck has been on the shelf for a few months now as he recovers from a broken orbital bone. Koscheck should return in late 2011, and hopefully he can continue to show some solid skills when he gets back. A powerful striker and wrestler, Koscheck has the skills to win it all if he can do the little things to put together the whole package.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Hughes vs. Sanchez in the works for 2011

nullIn a little bit of surprising news, MMAMania is reporting that the UFC is working on a future bout between welterweights Matt Hughes and Diego Sanchez.

Hughes, a current UFC Hall of Famer and former welterweight champion, is coming off a 21-second knockout loss to B.J. Penn at UFC 123, but had won his last three fights prior to that.

Sanchez is coming off back-to-back decision wins over Paulo Thiago and Martin Kampmann. He is 2-1 since making his return to welterweight after losing to Penn for the lightweight championship back in December of 2009.

This fight would be intriguing as Sanchez has a high motor and is somewhat reckless. He relies on his grappling and pressure to really win fights, but will be facing a stronger grappler in Hughes. Hughes also shows more composure and patience with his fighting.

I am a little surprised to see Hughes taking this fight as I felt like he was leaning toward retirement following the loss to Penn. If he was to fight again, I thought it would be more along the lines of another fight with Matt Serra or a fight against an older fighter to allow himself a better chance to go out on a win. This is a tough fight for Hughes, but is still one that he can win.